How to Detect a GPS Tracker in a Car?

Do you feel under surveillance and suspect your car has a hidden tracking device? If so, this article is of interest to you. We will show you the tools to detect a GPS tracker in an easy and simple way. Read on!


Introduction How to Detect a Hidden GPS Tracker

In the information age, detecting a hidden GPS tracker in your car can be crucial to maintaining your privacy. We live in an increasingly connected world, where technology is used for both legitimate and non-legitimate purposes. The exact location of a car can be tracked in real time thanks to hidden GPS trackers, small, unobtrusive devices that can be installed in different parts of a vehicle. While these devices can have legitimate uses, such as tracking vehicle fleets for businesses or recovering stolen cars, they can also be used for malicious purposes. In this article, we will explore how you can detect a hidden GPS tracker in your car, the steps to take if you find one, and how the company ESPIAMOS and its TSCM training course can help you with this task. Our goal is to provide you with the information and tools you need to protect your privacy in this ever-evolving digital world.



Understanding Hidden GPS Trackers

A hidden GPS tracker is a device that allows a person or entity to track the exact location of a vehicle in real time. These devices are small, often no bigger than a matchbox, and can be discreetly installed in different parts of a car.


What is a hidden GPS tracker?

A concealed GPS locator is a tracking device that uses Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to provide accurate information about the location of an object. Hidden GPS trackers are devices that are discreetly placed in a car without the owner's knowledge. They can be used for a variety of purposes, both legitimate and illegitimate, such as tracking fleets of vehicles, recovering stolen cars, or even spying and stalking.


Fundamentals of a GPS Tracker

To detect a GPS tracker it is important to know its fundamental parts. A GPS tracker consists of two distinct parts. A GPS antenna, internal or external, that determines the exact position of the device and a GSM / GPRS modem that sends the position via data to a tracking platform or monitor phone. GPS trackers are devices that send positions in bursts, i.e. every so often on a periodic basis. This is usually at an interval of between 10 and 60 seconds.

How does it work?

A Hidden GPS locator works by receiving signals from GPS satellites orbiting the earth. These signals allow the locator to determine its exact location. This location information is then transmitted via a mobile phone network to a server or device where the data can be accessed. Depending on the type of locator, this information can either be stored for later retrieval or transmitted in real time, usually over the 2G network, allowing live tracking of the vehicle.


What frequencies does a GPS tracker work with?

Concealed GPS locators work on a variety of frequencies, depending on the design and features of the device. However, most GPS locators use the L-band of the radio frequency spectrum, which is reserved for satellite navigation. The two main frequencies in this band that are used by the GPS system are L1 (1575.42 MHz) and L2 (1227.60 MHz). Some more advanced GPS locators may also use the L5 frequency (1176.45 MHz), which provides a higher accuracy signal and is useful in urban environments where GPS signals can be difficult to receive due to tall buildings and other obstacles.



To detect a GPS tracker you need to know what frequencies they work on. As indicated above, most GPS locators send their positions via the 2G network and to a lesser extent via the 3G network, WIFI or Bluetooth. In the following table you can see the approximate frequencies:

  • 2G / GSM Europe: 900 and 1800 MHz
  • 2G / Americas: 850 and 1900 MHz
  • 3G / WCDMA: 2100 MHz
  • 4G / LTE: 1800 and 2600 MHz
  • WIFI and Bluetooth: 2400 MHz


Why would anyone put a hidden GPS tracker in your car?

There are several reasons why someone might want to fit a hidden GPS tracker in your car. In some cases, it may be for legitimate reasons, such as tracking a fleet of vehicles in a company. Car rental companies may also use GPS trackers to track the location of their vehicles. In the case of personal cars, the devices can be used to locate a vehicle if it is stolen. However, there are also cases where GPS trackers are used for illegitimate purposes. For example, someone could use a GPS tracker to track another person's movements without their consent, which is a violation of privacy. In any case, it is important to know how to detect a hidden GPS tracker in your car in order to protect your privacy and security.



Types of Spy GPS Trackers

There are many types of spy GPS trackers on the market today, each with their own features and capabilities. However, all of them can be generally classified into two categories: GPS trackers with installation and GPS trackers without installation.


Installed GPS trackers

Fitted GPS trackers are devices that are integrated into the vehicle's electrical system. These devices are more difficult to detect and often offer more advanced tracking capabilities, as they can harness the car's power to operate and transmit real-time location data. However, they can be complex to install and usually require the intervention of a professional. They are also more difficult to move or remove once installed.


Non-installed GPS trackers

Free GPS trackers, also known as throw-and-go GPS trackers, are self-contained devices that can be easily placed in different parts of a car, such as under the seats, in the glove compartment or even attached to the chassis on the outside of the vehicle. These devices are powered by their own batteries and are easier to install and remove. However, battery life can be a limitation, and they can be easier to detect due to their need to be placed in accessible locations to allow for battery replacement.


Installation Locations of a Spy GPS Tracker

If you suspect you may be a victim of spying and want to detect a hidden GPS tracker in your vehicle, it is crucial to know the most common places where these devices can be installed. Here we will discuss the possible locations inside and outside your vehicle.


Inside the Vehicle

The interior of a vehicle offers many discreet places to hide a GPS tracker. These can be located under the seats, in the air vents, in the glove box compartment, or even in the headliner. In more modern vehicles, hidden GPS trackers can be even more difficult to detect, as they may be integrated into the car's electronic systems.


Vehicle exterior

Outside, GPS trackers can be placed in locations such as on bumpers, next to the battery, or underneath the car. These locations offer good GPS signal reception and can be quite unobtrusive. However, they are also more exposed to the elements and can be detected by careful visual inspection.



Methods to detect hidden GPS locator in your car

If you suspect that someone has placed a hidden GPS tracker in your car, there are several techniques you can use to search for and find these devices. Not all methods are 100% effective on their own, but together they can provide a solid strategy for discovering if you are being tracked.


Visual inspection of the vehicle

The visual inspection is the first step in detecting a hidden GPS tracker. You should carefully inspect all areas of your car where a device could be hidden, both inside and outside. Inside the vehicle, check under the seats, in the glove box, under the dashboard and in any storage compartments. Outside, look under the car, especially around the rear and on the mudguards. Also check the engine compartment and boot. Be aware that some hidden GPS trackers are designed to look like normal parts of the car, so if you see something you don't recognise or looks out of place, it could be a tracker.

Here are some examples of what you might find:




gps locator hidden in OBD connector
GPS locator connected to OBD system

GPS tracker hidden in fuse box
GPS Locator hidden in fuse box

Tracker hidden in engine
GPS Tracker hidden in engine

Tracker hidden inside the dashboard
GPS hidden inside dashboard

Magnetised GPS tracker on the underside of a car
Magnetised GPS tracker hidden underneath a car

GPS spy hidden in an everyday object
GPS tracker hidden in an everyday object




Use of Frequency detectors

The use of frequency detectors is another effective method of discovering a hidden GPS tracker. These devices can detect the radio frequency signals that GPS locators emit when transmitting location information. By running a frequency detector around your car, you can identify areas where unusual signals are being emitted. However, this method may not be effective for GPS locators that only transmit location information at intervals, or those that have anti-detection functionality. It is also important to note that frequency detectors may give false alarms due to other sources of radio frequency signals.


Article of interest: Best frequency detector of the year 2024



Use of NJLD Non-Linear Joint Detectors

Non-linear joint detectors (NJLD) are professional tools used to detect electronic devices, regardless of whether they are transmitting signals or not. These devices work by detecting the response of semiconductors in electronics, a unique property that cannot be masked. Therefore, an NJLD detector can be especially useful for finding GPS locators that are designed to avoid detection, such as those that only transmit at intervals or have anti-detection functionalities. However, NJLD detectors are more expensive and may require training for effective use.

NJLD detector training

Article of interest: Comparative analysis of the different NJLD non-linear joint detectors


Use of Thermal Imagers

The use of thermal cameras is another technique that can help detect the presence of a hidden GPS tracker. Electronic devices, including GPS trackers, generate heat when they are in operation. A thermal camera can detect these small temperature differences, which can help you locate a device that would otherwise be difficult to find. However, bear in mind that other electronic components in the car will also generate heat, so this method must be used in conjunction with others for effective detection.



Steps to take after detecting a hidden GPS tracker

Once you have successfully detected a hidden GPS tracker in your vehicle, it is important to know how to proceed. There are several steps you can take that can ensure your safety and help you take the necessary legal action.


How to handle the found device

Once you find a GPS tracking device, it is important that you handle it with care. Do not attempt to dismantle or destroy it, as it may be useful as evidence if you decide to make a report to the police.


Report it to the authorities

In the world of security and privacy, ESPIAMOS stands out as a trusted leader. With a wide range of products and services, ESPIAMOS can be your main ally to detect and protect yourself against hidden GPS locators. Not only because we offer you a 3-year warranty on all products but also because we guarantee the best price.


Legal Considerations

Installing a GPS tracker in your car without your consent may be illegal. However, laws vary depending on location and circumstances. For example, in some cases, police and other law enforcement agencies may have permission to install GPS trackers as part of an investigation. However, in most cases, the placement of a tracking device without the consent of the vehicle owner is an invasion of privacy and may be punishable by law. If you find a GPS tracker in your car, it is advisable to contact a lawyer to understand your rights and the possible legal actions you can take.




ESPIAMOS: Your ally in the detection of hidden GPS devices

In the world of security and privacy, ESPIAMOS stands out as a trusted leader. With a wide range of products and services, ESPIAMOS can be your main ally in detecting and protecting yourself against hidden GPS trackers.


The ESPIAMOS products for GPS detection

ESPIAMOS offers a variety of products for GPS detection. From frequency detectors and thermal cameras to non-linear joint detectors (NJLD), you have many options to choose from. These products have been designed and tested to be efficient and reliable, giving you the peace of mind you need. You can learn more about these products in our other posts, where we detail their features and how to use them effectively.


How ESPIAMOS can help protect your privacy

In addition to offering high quality products, ESPIAMOS is committed to protecting your privacy. Our experts can offer you personalised advice and tailor-made solutions to help you ensure your security and privacy. In addition, we keep up to date with the latest technologies and security trends to always offer you the best possible protection.


The support and training provided by ESPIAMOS

ESPIAMOS distinguishes itself by offering exceptional support and comprehensive training. Our support team is always available to help you with any problems or questions you may have. In addition, we offer training on how to use our products effectively and how to protect against threats to your privacy. Our TSCM Course is an excellent example of this commitment to training, helping you develop the skills you need to detect hidden GPS trackers.



The Importance of Prevention

Beyond knowing how to detect a hidden GPS tracker, prevention is a crucial aspect to consider. A proactive approach can save us from privacy breaches and ensure the security of our vehicle.


Keep your vehicle secure and checked regularly

A good practice is to always keep your vehicle safe and check it regularly. This refers not only to regular mechanical checks, but also to detailed inspections that can reveal the presence of foreign devices, including GPS trackers. This can be especially useful if you suspect that someone may be interested in tracking your movements.


Technology and products to prevent the installation of concealed GPS trackers

There are technologies and products that can help prevent the installation of hidden GPS trackers. For example, some modern car alarms include motion detection features that can alert you if someone tries to tamper with your vehicle. ESPIAMOS also offers high quality protection products that can be useful in preventing the installation of these devices.


Recommendations to prevent the violation of your privacy

Some recommendations to avoid breaches of your privacy include being aware of your surroundings and noticing any suspicious activity near your vehicle. Also, avoid leaving your car unattended in public places for extended periods of time. Finally, if you suspect that you are being tracked, do not hesitate to seek professional help to inspect your vehicle and remove any tracking devices found.



The Importance of Detecting Hidden GPS Trackers

Detecting a hidden GPS tracker is crucial to protecting your privacy and security. In a world where technology is rapidly evolving, it is imperative to be aware of the different ways in which our privacy can be violated and how to protect ourselves against them.


Recap of detection methods

Throughout this article, we have discussed different methods of detecting a hidden GPS tracker in your vehicle. These include visual inspection, the use of frequency detectors, non-linear joint detectors (NJLD), and thermal cameras. Each of these methods has its strengths, and using them in conjunction with each other can provide the most effective detection.


The relevance of training and prevention

We have also emphasised the importance of training and prevention. By being informed and prepared, you can take proactive steps to avoid the installation of hidden GPS trackers. Keep your vehicle safe, check it regularly and use technology and products to prevent the installation of these devices.


The role of ESPIAMOS in protecting your privacy

Last but not least, we have highlighted the role of ESPIAMOS as your partner in the detection and prevention of hidden GPS trackers. With its wide range of products and commitment to training and support, ESPIAMOS can be an invaluable resource in your efforts to protect your privacy.